Party at the Пляж: Jurmala Beach

Party at the Пляж: Jurmala Beach
29 July 2016

When I first found out I would be going to Riga for six weeks this summer and I looked up the area, one of the first things that came up was the neighboring town of Jurmala. First I thought it was strange how I got a neighboring town for my search when it definitely said Riga, but whatever. Absentmindedly I decided to look up this tiny town anyways. And It seemed even more weird then when, upon doing research, I found out Jurmala was advertised as one of the best beach locations in Eastern Europe. According to it’s Wikipedia site I read, I found out the beach only has soft white quartz sand, and stretches for a whopping 21 miles (32), making it one of the largest beaches in Europe and definitely in the Baltic States. Call me jaded or pessimistic, but that seemed a little over exaggerated/optimistic. I mean, Eastern Europe with its crazy weather can’t have beaches right?

Funny enough, it can. And not only that, but it rocks the socks off the beach game.

Looking for something REALLY cool to show my family this week, I figured Jurmala would be a great place for an afternoon! I had never been there but I had heard only good things about it: it was close, it was free, it was big, the sand was soft and it was a beach, aka the place where happiness goes on vacation. And it did not disappoint on ANY front. My problem with normal beaches is that while it looks beautiful, there are a lot of silent hazards: sunburn from sun, it’s too hot and you’re sweating if you’re not in the water, there’s undertow if you’re in the ocean, and people are packed in by commercial buildings and private lots.

13833087_10153587001191930_1892281352_oI felt like the Jurmala beach was the best of all these characteristics, without the overkill. It had sunshine but the air was a nice 27 degrees С temperature, the water was 32 degrees warm, we had a light breeze off the sea, shallow water you could wade out into for a couple hundred meters and empty stretches of beach the whole way down. The lack of commercialization especially makes you feel like it’s everybody’s beach, and the temperatures of the air and water were perfectly matched. For us in the family, it was a perfect afternoon swimming, chilling and walking along the sea.

Jurmala can easily be reached by train via the Centrala Stacija, or by bus from the same station. For weekend trips with friends, apartment-mate bonding time or family visiting time, this is one of my highest recommendations.


Mark Kennedy, currently studying Russian at Liden & Denz Riga

Posted by Mark Kennedy

Всем Привет! My name is Mark Kennedy, and I’m currently studying Russian at the Liden and Denz Language Center in Riga, Latvia! To say I’m excited to be here is a severe understatement. Currently I'm going into my fourth year at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where I'm enrolled as a dual-degree candidate, earning two degrees in Russian Language and Literature, and French Horn Performance. I started my study of Russian during a two-year mission for my church in St. Petersburg, Russia. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever done! My language learning started off as kind of a trial by fire: with only 12 weeks of training beforehand, I was thrown into Russia and expected (to attempt, at least) to hold full on conversations with people. In the beginning it wasn’t pretty, but the sink or swim mentality of it all forced me to work hard from the start, and motivated me to really overcome any issues I had quickly. Combined with a personally guided plan of language study and some study materials, I came to love the language and the Russian people a TON! Two years later and I’m still studying it… Outside of Russian language, my French Horn degree keeps me busy. Favorite composer is probably Richard Strauss, and my favorite symphonic work is The Rite of Spring Suite by Stravinsky. (Debussy Piano pieces are my favorite non-symphonic works). I’m also into basically anything arts related: singing, dancing, listening to Maroon 5, drawing Sharpie art, going to art exhibits, going to orchestra concerts, etc. In terms of sports, I was a collegiate rower for the University of Michigan in 2011-2012, when we won the National Champions Team Trophy, and I play Ultimate Frisbee. I’m excited for this opportunity to write for Liden & Denz, and to share my enthusiasm and excitement about Riga and the Russian language!

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